Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A Place to Start

Like many characters in the Scriptures, we don't know a lot about Philip. He hangs around every now and then, and we know he's there, but he doesn't get a lot of his own stories. He doesn't take center stage very often.

Except for this one time in the book of Acts.

We're told the story of how a eunuch was traveling along, reading from the book of Isaiah, when Philip came up beside him and kept pace with the party. He asked the eunuch, "Do you understand what you're reading?" To which the eunuch replied, "How can I? No one has explained it to me." So Philip climbs up next to the guy and starts talking him through the prophecy in Isaiah all the way up to this guy named Jesus of Nazareth, who very recently traveled those same roads. Oh, and was the Messiah.

This raises an interesting question for me. For all of us, really.

Philip took this one passage in the book of Isaiah, a passage he just so happened along in passing, and used it to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Could you? Could I?

Now, it's one thing to get there from a prophecy in Isaiah that so easily connects to the life and the mission that Jesus lived. It seems to many that these words directly talk about this Messiah, so it makes sense to draw from it in order to pull someone in to Jesus.

But could you start from any passage in the Bible and get to the same place? Could you take any word from the Word and use it to preach Christ?

We say that the Bible is God's Word, that it's His story from the very beginning, and we say that God's story has always been leading to Jesus. If that's true, then naturally, the answer should be yes. Yes, you could take any passage of the Bible and get to Jesus.

Practically, however, many of us would have some hesitation. How do you take a passage that says, "Saul went into the cave to relieve himself" and preach Christ? How do you take a story a bounty of Philistine foreskins and preach Christ? How do you take a story where Samson ties foxes together by the tail and sets them on fire...and preach Christ? How do you get from a curse of Christ?

These are biblical stories. These are real passages in the real Bible, God's Word through and through. Could you really use them to get to Christ?

I still think yes, even with these more seemingly difficult ones. (I think the bounty of Philistine foreskins would be especially fun.)

It's just something to think about, something to play with. Philip took one passage he happened by in passing and took the eunuch all the way to Christ. Where could you start and end up the same?


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